Having avoided getting shot by his frustrated wife, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), at the end of Dallas' 11th season, ruthless oil tycoon J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) decides to relax a bit as season 12 gets under way. Embarking on a hunting trip to Arkansas, serial philanderer J.R. has brief tryst with hillbilly gal Cally Harper (Cathy Podewell) -- which turns out to be a major mistake when Cally's brothers, in cahoots with a crooked sheriff, contrive to have J.R. arrested and sentenced to a work farm! In order to save himself, J.R. agrees to divorce Sue Ellen and marry Cally -- who isn't quite as vacuous and guileless as she looks. Once J.R. and Cally are hitched, the vengeful Sue Ellen purchases a movie studio for the express purpose of collaborating with screenwriter Don Lockwood (Ian McShane) on a shocking filmed exposé of J.R. and his highly questionable business practices. (This collaboration reaps unexpected benefits when Sue Ellen and Lockwood are married!) Season twelve marks the exit of two longtime Dallas regulars: Steve Kanaly and his character, J.R.'s half brother, Ray Krebbs, bid farewell early in the season; and by mid-year, Linda Gray (aka Sue Ellen) is also gone. Conversely, Audrey Landers as Afton Cooper, former sister-in-law of J.R.'s niece Lucy (Charlene Tilton), returns after an absence of several seasons. Newcomers to the cast include George Kennedy as rival oil man Carter McKay, who after purchasing Ray Krebbs' ranch takes over Westar Oil and mounts a range war (both literal and figurative) against the Ewing family, hoping not only to destroy J.R. but also to remove Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) as head man of Ewing Oil. The McKay-Ewing conflict would spread far beyond the boundaries of Texas and extend into the wilds of Washington, D.C., Austria, and Russia! Along with Carter McKay, Carter's unhappy wife, Rose (Jeri Gaile), and his profoundly troubled children, Tommy (J. Eddie Peck) and Tracy (Beth Toussaint), make their first appearances this season.
by Hal Erickson synopsis